Reviewed Saturday September 7
As with most Golden Ages of a bygone era, the 1920s are still alive and kicking thanks to pop culture. However, as much we like to glorify the past, we shouldn’t forget that it wasn’t all parties and mint juleps. The hunt for communists was beginning to rival baseball as America’s favourite pastime; a young, overzealous German named Adolf entered politics; and with alcohol outlawed, some gangsters decided to start selling booze at hugely inflated prices.
While most of these historical events are hard to relive with a costume party, The Gangsters’ Ball does its best to reflect the financial gouging that took place back in the day. For a ridiculously overpriced $80 entry ($135 for a VIP ticket), you too can dress up in a fine suit or swanky dress and live out your Gatsby fantasy.
A certain desperation runs through the crowd, as if people feel forced to enjoy themselves. This does result in much more crowd participation than usual; getting people dancing to the swing DJ and enjoying the fake gambling in the secondary theatre, and much more involved with the various performers on the main stage, from magicians to acrobatic violinists.
Another annoying observation, though, was that – aside from a grand chandelier hanging above the entry stairs – there were next to no decorations of any kind. Nothing. Disappointing when you consider that such a simple touch could enhance the experience and prolong the fantasy tenfold.
Most people love a costume party and decide that they are going to spoil themselves for the night. This is understandable but unnecessary, as thanks to the reinvigoration the 1920s are currently getting all over town due to The Great Gatsby remake.